BOUNDARIES IN PRAYER - 4
PRAYER IN THE NAME OF JESUS
True prayer approaches God trusting in his mercy in Christ, not in personal merit.
True prayer is penitent – acknowledging no personal right of access and approach, acknowledging personal sinfulness and personal sin. True prayer is also confident – trusting in the mediatorial efficacy of Jesus Christ our great High Priest, who by the offering of the one sacrifice of his own body, once-for-all, gained for us, and guarantees, our permanent and eternal unimpeded access into the presence of God. Thus true prayer approaches God both humbly and boldly at the same time, in the name of Jesus Christ.
True prayer knows that apart from Christ, apart from this ‘in his name’, our sins and iniquities would hold us in a state of separation from God in which we had no right of access into his presence, and in which our prayers would not be heard (Isaiah 59:2).
The New testament teaches:
Luke 18:13: ‘The tax-collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”’
John 14:13,14: ‘I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
John 15:16: ‘The Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.’
John 16:23,24: ‘In that day you will no longer ask me anything. … my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.’
John 16:26,27: ‘In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.‘
Romans 1:8: ‘I thank my God through Jesus Christ …’
Ephesians 3:12: ‘In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.’
Ephesians 5:20: ‘… always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.’
Colossians 3:17: ‘And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.’
Hebrews 4:14,16: ‘Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess…. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.’
Prayer in the name of Jesus puts a limit on the kind of things we can pray for.
This fact that true prayer is prayer in Jesus’ name puts an additional fence around our prayer, because there are obviously many things which we could not pray in the name of Jesus because they are not things that Jesus would approve or validate.
Only those who believe in Jesus Christ can truly pray in his name.
The fact that we are to pray in Jesus’ name automatically excludes the prayers of those who do not believe that Jesus is who he claimed to be and that he did what he did in dying on the cross. Unbelievers do not pray in his name, irrespective of whether or not they tack the words on the end of their prayers. The promises about prayer in his name, given by Jesus to his eleven faithful disciples in John 14 to 16, were specifically given to them on the basis of:
- their faith in him (John 14:11,12);
- their being clean because of the word he had spoken to them (John 15:3);
- their union with him (John 15:5);
- their being loved by him (John 15:9);
- their friendship with him (John 15:15);
- his choice and appointment of them (John 15:16);
- their rejoicing in him (John 16:23);
- the Father’s love for them (John 16:27), and
- their belief that Jesus came from God (John 16:27).
© Rosemary Bardsley 2017